Being Obsessed With What You Are Building Is a Competitive Advantage

When building a company and product, having a singular obsession with working on it and solving the problem is an advantage over competitors that do not. The obsession leads to exploring the area in depth, more than any rational person would do. This leads to all sorts of discoveries overlooked by others.

See also:

  • Do Everyone’s Job First

    At an early stage startup (less than 10 people), it’s a big advantage to do everyone’s job first. That doesn’t mean you don’t scale or hire other people, but doing their job first gives the most understanding about what the job actually entails and the knowledge of how it works.

  • How to Do Great Work (Literature Notes)

    I read How to do great work by Paul Graham. It’s a collection of advice I’ve heard from various places. It sounds wise but it’s impossible to disprove. It leaves the practical parts of applying it to the real world up to the reader. Still, I find myself agreeing with pretty much all of it and it took me a very long time to learn these lessons.

  • Use the Product

    Improving product quality requires consistent and ongoing attention. You will simply miss all of the details that contribute to low product quality if you don’t use your product every day.

  • Mission Beats Culture

    Having a meaningful mission that draw people in and compels them to do their best work together is more powerful than good culture alone. A company might have a distinctive culture of how they work together and other behaviors but if it’s in service of something trivial, there is a natural ceiling to how connected someone will be.

  • Permission to Build New Products Is Earned

    The right to build something new needs to be earned from existing customers. If they’re not happy with your core offering (most businesses start with a single product) they will worry that existing issues will make their way into the new product category. If people love your product they will naturally pull the company into other categories to solve more of their problems.

  • Schlep Blindness Is a Moat

    Founders that are willing to take on problem areas that are unappealing because it seems like a lot of work is a moat. Schlep blindness, as Paul Graham calls it, is mostly subconscious and causes hackers to choose easier, but more competitive areas. This explains why you see thousands of todo list apps, but not a thousand employment compliance companies.

  • A Little Bit Broken Is Still Broken

    Engineers and product people tend to think about issues as frequency distributions. How many users does this impact? How severe is it? But this misses one inescapable truth from a user’s perspective: a little bit broken is still broken.